Tom Sherak, L.A. Film Czar, Actor/Producer

December 7, 2013 · Posted in Keynote Speaker, Speaker Bios · Comments Off 

Tom Sherak Tom Sherak
Actor/Producer and L.A. Film Czar

Thomas Sherak, whose remarkable career has seen him at the pinnacle of motion picture marketing, distribution and production, is the former President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is also consulting for Marvel Studios and Relativity Media.

Previously, Sherak was a partner at Revolution Studios. In its seven years of operation, Revolution Studios released more than thirty films, including “America’s Sweethearts,” “Black Hawk Down,” “XXX,” “Anger Management,” “Daddy Day Care,” “Hellboy,” “13 Going On 30,” “White Chicks,” “The Forgotten,” “Christmas with the Kranks,” “Are We There Yet?,” “Rent,” “The Benchwarmers,” “Click,” “Rocky Balboa” and “Across the Universe.”

Prior to joining Revolution Studios, Sherak was Chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Domestic Film Group. In addition, Sherak served as Senior Executive Vice President of Fox Filmed Entertainment. Previously, he was Senior Executive Vice President of Twentieth Century Fox.

At Twentieth Century Fox, Sherak oversaw the distribution and post-production of such films as “Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “True Lies,” “Speed,” “Independence Day,” “Broken Arrow,” “Dr. Dolittle,” “The X-Files,” and “Star Wars: Episode 1–The Phantom Menace.”

In 1990 Sherak was named Executive Vice President of Twentieth Century Fox. Previously, he was President of Domestic Distribution and Marketing for Twentieth Century Fox from May 1983 to September 1984, and again from June 1986 to July 1990. In that position, he supervised the company’s domestic distribution, advertising/publicity/promotion operations and the non-theatrical film division. He has overseen the marketing and distribution of such films as “Romancing the Stone,” “Commando,” “Aliens,” “The Fly,” “Broadcast News,” “Predator,” “Wall Street,” “Die Hard,” “Working Girl,” “The War of the Roses,” “Die Hard 2,” “Home Alone,” “Edward Scissorhands” and “Die Hard: With a Vengeance.” Sherak joined Fox from General Cinema, where he was Vice President and head film buyer.

Sherak began his career in the film industry at Paramount Pictures in 1970 where he worked in the New York, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis distribution offices.

He is an active board member of the Southern California Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Fulfillment Fund of Southern California. Serving as Chair for the MS Dinner of Champions gala event for the past 18 years, Sherak has helped raise just under 40 million dollars for multiple sclerosis research and programs. He is a former Chairman of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation and formerly on the Board of Directors for the Motion Picture and Television Fund as well as the Southern California Variety – the Children’s Charity. Sherak has also previously served as Treasurer of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Sherak received an honorary doctorate in the arts from the Academy of Art University in May 2010 and holds a degree in Marketing from New York City Community College. He is also on the faculty of the UCLA Producers Program.

Gale Anne Hurd, Producer

October 30, 2013 · Posted in Keynote Speaker, Speaker Bios · Comments Off 

Gale Anne Hurd x300Gale Anne Hurd
Producer

Gale Anne Hurd, known as the “First Lady of Sci-Fi,” is a producer of Academy Award-winning films and Emmy-winning programs that shatter box office and ratings records.

After climbing the ladder from executive assistant at Roger Corman’s New World Pictures to head marketing for the company, Hurd’s career as a Producer was launched when she produced and co-wrote The Terminator. The film received critical and commercial acclaim, including TIME Magazine’s “10 Best List”. It was recently recognized by the Library of Congress, which chose The Terminator to be included in its highly esteemed National Film Registry.

This success was quickly followed by Aliens, which received seven nominations and two Academy Awards, and the Academy Award winning films The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and The Ghost and the Darkness. Hurd’s additional feature credits include the Academy Award nominated Armageddon, The Incredible Hulk, Tremors, Dante’s Peak, Æon Flux, The Punisher, Dick, and The Waterdance, which won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, and both the Audience and Screenplay Awards at the Sundance Film Festival.

When Hurd decided to enter the television business, she did so with a bang as Executive Producer of The Walking Dead, which currently reigns as the most-watched scripted drama, beating all broadcast and cable series among adults 18-49. The American Film Institute has also honored the show in both 2010 and 2012 as a “Top 10” TV program. With over 12 million viewers, the show will return for a fourth season in October 2013. The series has garnered two Emmy wins and is currently nominated by the Television Critics Association for “Program of the Year” of 2012. Hurd is also a Consulting Producer on AMC’s top-rated spinoff talk show, The Talking Dead.

Hurd’s company, Valhalla Entertainment, has an overall deal with Universal Cable Productions to develop new television and digital programs. Up next for Hurd is Horizon, a USA Network drama pilot about an FBI secretary’s extraterrestrial discovery during World War II.

Hurd is also actively developing a number of television projects including Annie Jacobson’s non-fiction best seller Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base for AMC and Crash and Burn for FX, a series that follows the lives of stuntmen in the ‘70s.

Hurd’s new indie film, Very Good Girls, premiered as an official selection at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and will be released theatrically later this year.

Hurd serves on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, chairing the Producer’s Branch and is an officer of the Producers Guild of America. At the Academy she chairs the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship Committee, and for the PGA she chairs the Debra Hill Fellowship Committee and co-founded the Guild’s Produced By Conference.

In October 2012, Hurd received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hurd is also the recipient of the 2013 DiGamma Kappa Award for Distinguished Service in Broadcasting from Grady College, home of the Peabody Awards, and a 2013 Cartier Award at the Deauville American Film Festival, along with Cate Blanchett and Nicolas Cage.